Review: Kininvie 17 Years Old 1996 Batch 1

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Kininvie Distillery

Bottling: William Grant & Sons

ABV: 42.6%

Cost: £75 for 35cl from World of Whiskies

Kininvie 17yo 1996 batch 1

What they say:

Fresh fruit with a deep vanilla sweetness. Sweet, buttery vanilla and slightly spicy on the palate.

What I say:

Finally we get to sample something from Kininvie! Kininvie distillery was built and opened in 1990 by William Grant & Sons adjacent to the Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries in Speyside. Kininvie is essentially a stillhouse with the mash piped some 200 metres from the Balvenie mash-house. Furthermore distillation is computer-controlled at the very modern Kininvie. Since opening very little Kininvie single malt has been sold, Kininvie was built to alleviate the demands upon the premium Glenfiddich and Balvenie single malts and as such is thought to make up the lions share of the blended malt Monkey Shoulder. William Grant & Sons attempted not to create competition by introducing a whole new single malt onto the market and even casks of Kininvie are teaspooned (much as Balvenie) with a little malt from the other distillery to prevent independent releases of single malt. Despite all this in recent years several Kininvie single malt expressions have been released including this Travel Retail Exclusive 17 year old Batch 1 distilled in 1996 and matured in bourbon and sherry casks (apparently 4/1).

Thanks to Tom @ Toms Whisky Reviews for finally cracking this open and generously donating a sample to us.

Colour:

Rose gold with copper highlights (8/20), very slow medium-large tears leave medium legs

Nose:

A little closed at first, but there is a subtle depth of fruit and florality with hints of red/dried fruits and lighter nutty (almond/hazelnut) aromas just belying that sherry influence, vanilla and light honey

Taste:

Smooth and buttery/oily on the palate, again this needs a little coaxing, demerara sugar and crème brulee, cinnamon spiced raisins and a little cayenne pepper add heat, macadamia and hazelnut, a touch of malt and tannic oak – sadly all tasted over a tongue covered in beeswax

Finish:

Medium, a touch drying, peppered honey

Overall:

Like Monkey Shoulder with the good bits taken out, there is something really quite disappointing about this expression and I think it is complete lack of character. Even the attempted cask maturation to create balance has just rendered this a little beige. Still nice to try an offering from a distillery we haven’t previously sampled.

Score: 61/100

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